Five things Program Leaders need to know about Communications

2 minute read

Authors: Elizabeth Seymour and Michael A. O’Neill


In a multi-channel operational environment, program leaders and managers need increased awareness and understanding of how communications activities support the realization of program outcomes and results. The following can serve as a guide for program communications:

  1. Not everyone can do communications: Strategic communications requires specific knowledge, skills and competencies. To ensure your program receives the communications support it requires, don’t do it yourself, call the professionals and engage with your organization’s communications branch early on.
  2. Communicate early and communicate often: Work with your communications team to ensure you have a sustained and coherent message about your program and activities. Remember, not communicating is communicating something!
  3. Know your audience: One message seldom fits all. Analyze who makes up your audience and tailor your communications strategies and activities to each audience segment.
  4. Communications is strategy not tactics: Communications activities are critical to ensure your program remains relevant and credible. These activities not only help you shape perceptions of your program, but also provide important insights that will ensure your program meets its expectations. Keep sight of the ‘big picture’ – your program communications influence how your audience perceives government as a whole. Remember, the more complex your program, the greater and more strategic your communications need to be.
  5. Monitor for impact: Communications strategies and activities need to be monitored and evaluated for effectiveness and impact. Find out what works and why, and apply those lessons to correct activities that don’t. Communications that don’t reach the intended audience is just wasted time and money.
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About the author

Institute on Governance

Institute on Governance

Founded in 1990, the Institute on Governance (IOG) is an independent, Canada-based, not-for-profit public interest institution with its head office in Ottawa and an office in Toronto. Our mission is ‘advancing better governance in the public interest,’ which we accomplish by exploring, developing and promoting the principles, standards and practices which underlie good governance in the public sphere, both in Canada and abroad.

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